Federal Court

Immigration and Citizenship


Loss of citizenship

Applicant voluntarily, knowingly, and significantly contributed to crimes of killing squad

Applicant citizen significantly misrepresented his activities in World War II when applying to enter Canada. Upon discovery that applicant served as interpreter for Nazi killing squad, Governor-in-Council (GIC) made multiple attempts to revoke his citizenship but was limited by policy restricting such revocation for World War II matters to those complicit in war crimes or crimes against humanity. After judicial review proceedings led to new framework for assessing complicity and defence of duress, GIC again decided to revoke applicant’s citizenship. Applicant applied for judicial review. Application dismissed. Length of proceedings was largely due to applicant’s successful procedural steps rather than any unreasonable government delay. GIC decision was procedurally fair and did not meet high threshold necessary for finding abuse of process. No oral hearing was required where full oral hearing in prior judicial proceeding had resulted in credibility findings and findings of fact. Minister’s report recommending revocation, which was accepted by GIC, weighed evidence on record as well as such judicially determined findings to determine what most plausibly occurred with respect to issues only now required for conclusions on complicity and duress. Applicant had reasonable opportunity to participate in meaningful manner in process and knew basis on which decision was made. Report comprehensively and straightforwardly considered evidence and applicant’s submissions. GIC reasonably found serious grounds for considering that applicant voluntarily, knowingly, and significantly contributed to crimes of killing squad. GIC looked at all relevant factors, including applicant’s age, his role in killing squads, his length of service, his location of service and what criminal activities were being conducted at these locations, his likely knowledge, his joining of squad and his opportunity to leave. GIC reasonably took into account judicial concerns about applicant’s testimony being unreliable and minimizing his wartime role. GIC reasonably concluded that applicant could not have been unaware of what squad did and did not participate under duress.

Oberlander v. Canada (Attorney General) (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 5347, 2018 CarswellNat 5348, 2018 FC 947, 2018 CF 947, Michael L. Phelan J. (F.C.).

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